Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack arrives for a news conference in Vancouver

Trading Lack or Markstrom on Canucks radar

Trading Lack or Markstrom almost inevitable for Canucks, just a matter of timing

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It’s a matter of when, not if, the Vancouver Canucks will trade Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said on Thursday that the two backup goalies are on the trading block ahead of the NHL draft with both of them in their primes and their contracts expiring. Although he expects there will be a flurry of trade activity during Friday’s draft, he’s willing to wait for the best available deal.

“We don’t have to move either one of them. We have until the start of the year,” said Benning, indicating he can wait until as late as September to make a deal. “If nothing makes sense for us, where we think we’re not going to get good value for moving one of them, we don’t have to move them.

“I don’t think with all the interest we’re getting in them that’s going to be a problem.”

At 27 years old, Lack has more time in the NHL, earning a 34-30 record for the Canucks in 82 games over the past two seasons. He has a .917 save percentage in that time with a 2.45 goals-against average. Most importantly, he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Markstrom is two years younger and has only played in 50 NHL games split over five seasons between the Florida Panthers and Vancouver. He has a career 13-28 record with a .896 save percentage and 3.08 GAA. With Lack and starting goaltender Ryan Miller solid in net for the Canucks last season, Markstrom spent most of his time with the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets where he earned a 22-7 record with a .934 save percentage and 1.88 GAA. He’ll become a restricted free agent this off-season.

Vancouver’s depth at goal doesn’t end there, with 2014 second-round pick Thatcher Demko progressing nicely at Boston College.

The only sure thing is who will start in net for the Canucks when the season kicks off.

“We want to keep Ryan Miller because we want to keep a veteran goalie,” Benning said at a news conference in his hotel lobby. “I think a big part of our team last year was we had two good goalies. Ryan is a proven No. 1 goalie in the league so we want to keep Ryan and we have to make a hard decision on the other two guys.”

Vancouver holds the 23rd overall pick on Friday, but Benning says he will not be drafting by need in the first round, instead simply taking the best available player.

“I think at the 23rd pick we’re going to pick the player with the biggest upside,” said Benning. “A player that we can work with, that we can develop into either a top-six forward or a top-four defenceman. There’s enough depth that I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Vancouver’s attention will turn back to the net on Saturday in the draft’s middle rounds, presumably to backfill the space created by trading either Lack or Markstrom.

“In the mid-rounds, we like some goalies,” said Benning. “We might pick a goalie in the mid-round but we’re not going to pick a goalie high.”

___

Follow @jchidleyhill on Twitter

Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Saanich’s Red Lion Inn receives council’s blessing for extended liquor hours

Extension comes more than two years after a major fire

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read